Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kansas City

The only thing I would change about this week would have been letting us stay for another week or at least a few more days. Besides that, there is nothing I would change. I love getting to serve others who have given their lives to obeying the Lord’s call in whatever aspects that may entail.

This week we went to Kansas City and volunteered with the HOPE organization, located in one of the roughest parts of the city. It was odd, because as we pulled in to the area, honestly it didn’t look that bad. Last year I went to school in one of the poorest cities in Georgia and at some point it was posting pretty highly on violent crime and death rates. It was bad, and it looked bad, but here it looked almost peaceful. Once we got to the center, the man who had started HOPE took us out in a bus to show us the area.

He started telling us stories of violence and hurt that I couldn’t even fully imagine. It became clear very quickly to me how broken this place was. They didn’t have a grocery store in the area. They have one doctor serving thousands upon thousands of people. In the high schools in the area only 5 kids have a chance to graduate from college.

Hearing that breaks my heart, and while I’ve been around poverty before, it’s easy for me to forget how much I’ve seen.

We were able to help out by cleaning up a beautiful old cathedral owned by the HOPE center. Also a few of us went down the street and helped in some of the finishing stages of preparing a house that a family who wants to invest in the community is going to be moving into.

I think being at Kansas City this week has really shown me places that I need to step up and take more action. I have been trying to find a place to plug into with lacrosse, but I got distracted and haven’t followed through with that. I want to find a way to give to people who have less than me, and when I say that I don’t mean from a materialistic point of view. I mean that 'from a spiritual perspective. I think at times people – myself included- get so focused on meeting people’s physical needs that we can forget about why we’re helping them - to show them God’s love. There are a lot of people out there who do really great things to help the underprivileged, but people need salvation of their souls as well.

So yah, I’m going to try and find a way to make that happen because it’s something I have always wanted to do and love doing but just sometimes struggle finding a way to use my strengths to do something.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ghost of Blogs Way Over Due

This week has been a very informative and fun week.  Monday we had a nutritionist come in and speak to us about eating healthier. I found her information really interesting and, personally… depressing. The idea that in an entire day I should be eating about 10 ounces of meat - I eat more than that in one sitting. I know for a fact that I have eaten over 2,000 calories in one meal on multiple occasions. But while I probably won’t start making a meal of nuts and celery, I am going to make a better effort to put some more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

The next two days we were blessed to have Marvin Daniels, the director of Kids Across America, come and speak to us. The first thing we did was stand in the back of the chapel as Marvin gave us several statements that cause controversy in today’s society. After hearing the question we had to decide to agree or disagree with the statement and then defend our position. I really enjoyed getting to talk back and forth and share our opinions and beliefs. Marvin’s teaching was really challenging to me. You see, I know that there are areas in my life in which I know how I should act but choose not to. I’m paraphrasing, but Marvin made a statement that information without application leads to nothing. I have a lot of head knowledge but I need to be more proactive in applying that knowledge to my life and allowing the Lord to transform me through that.

Honestly there were so many things that stuck out to me while he spoke that I’ll just list off a few

·         “We live like what Jesus asks us to do is good enough for the pews but not the public”

·         “Friendship and obedience go hand in hand with God; you are not a “friend of God” if you are not obedient.”

·         “When you say “no” to your flesh you usually end up saying ‘yes’ or ‘I do’ to the Lord.”

One last thing that Marvin said that hit head on was when he was talking about the government. It was that I can criticize and critique and talk about our government and leaders until I’m blue in the face, but what God wants to know is, have I prayed?

I know that I love my country and I can get passionate about politics. Ever since high school I have told people about how important it is for Christians to be a voice in government, and a million things about what is wrong in our country. But how many times do I pray for America, its leaders and people? Not enough. At the end of the day God doesn’t care about how many people I talked to about politics; he wants to know how many people I gave the good news of the gospel to.  


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Mystery of Mondays

Well this should have gone up about 2 weeks ago, but it's here now plus pictures!

This week has been an absolute blast! Especially our second Mystery Monday, this week we were given a classic Disney movie but with a twist added to it i.e. Aladdin as a horror film, Snow White and the seven deadly sins, etc. Our "mission" was to go out into Branson in the groups we were placed in and take photos to recreate the story with its added elements. If that wasn't difficult enough we were given a maximum of 15 photos to tell the story ALSO we had to have a complete wardrobe change in at least one of the pictures.
So we got into our groups and received our "movies" and then began the mad dash to grab a change I clothes and get to the cars. -personally I feel like the leadership here puts time limits on things just because they want to watch us run us out of energy at least one day a week-

My group was AK, Jesse Anne, Timothy, and myself. We got the movie Snow White and the seven deadly sins. I won't act like we were a little perplexed as to how we were going to accomplish this movie remake. You see the as truth is that 2 of us had never seen the movie before and the other 2 couldn't really remember specifics of it. So we did what any struggling student does... We looked it up on Wikipedia.

After a few minutes of browsing the story we came up with a semblance of a plan and began furiously taking photos, some making sense, most of them not. We managed to find a castle and a log cabin for background and then did our best to recreate the story while incorporating the 7 deadly sins.

 At 11 we headed back to the chapel where we were going to present our creations. We presented ours along with all the other groups; there was a lot of laughing and shaking of heads. Unfortunately we did not win the competition, nor did we place in the top 3... But that's ok! It was so much fun getting to be ridiculous with my group.

I can't describe how blessed I feel to be here at Link Year. Not just for the fun that we are able to have, but also for the relationships that are being built as everyone here pushes each other towards the Lord.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 3 with Jonathan Morrow

I feel like I am going to end up apologizing each week at the beginning of my blog but I promise I will try really hard not to this next week! That being said I feel like I have so much I want to talk about and so little time to get it all down. I just finished watching the Vice-Presidential debates; first off I keep forgetting Missouri is not on Eastern Time… so I missed the first hour of the debate. So now I get to go back and watch the whole thing again before I can talk about how much I dislike Joe Biden. Also I have a soccer game tonight at 11:30 which should be interesting since I haven’t played soccer in years.

All right! Now that that’s out of the way let’s get down to the good stuff…

This week we had Jonathan Morrow, the author Think Christianly and several other books. This man is incredible. He spent three days going over how to defend our faith. Let me say that I already love this stuff. It’s something I just get stoked about.

Right off the bat we hit the ground running. We started by asking the question, “Does truth exist?” We talked about how claims of truth can be split into 2 categories: subjective and objective. Basically we discussed how people are entitled to their own beliefs BUT they are not entitled to their own truth. Then we went into what our job as believers is during apologetics, which is to: Respond to Objections; Make a Case, and Give Hope. As we discussed this I felt convicted because I know that in the times I’ve discussed the Bible with people who don’t believe in it or question things about God, I usually skip the last and definitely most important step. I get into the heat of the argument/debate so strongly that I end up losing focus on why I am having this conversation and will just try to show the person why they are wrong and feel as if I’ve accomplished something. Which I have done - I showed the person I was speaking to that I can argue with them, but they know nothing more of the Lord.

We also learned several arguments that we can make which will lead to proving the existence of God and in turn give us an opening to share more from Scripture. One was the “Kalam Cosmological Argument” which is actually very simple and just deductive reasoning. Here’s a simplified version of it.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause

2) The universe began to exist

3) Therefore the universe has a cause

From here we can move the conversation to how if time began it must have come from something timeless; if matter began to exist it has to come from something immaterial, etc. 

It’s so much more complicated, but I love that instead of starting with conflict you focus on things that anyone would agree on and then you can take things step by step and create minimal confrontation to make your point. Not that I am against confrontation, but once people get heated they tend to stop listening to the message you are presenting and are focused on doing the same to you and you end up gridlocked.

We also looked at arguments for God’s existence from the angle of design. How things came to be. I thought the coolest example he gave us was Mt. Rushmore. He asked us if we knew who created it, and when none of us could answer, he asked if we could still be certain that it was created or was it just a happenstance of nature. He extended this metaphor to the world - just because we can’t say we saw God make the world doesn’t mean that we can throw away an Almighty Creator of the world.

I love history, and we discussed just a few things to support the existence of Jesus and His resurrection. We have recorded accounts from Roman officials of Jesus’ death and the “strange doings” that happened after. Then the fact that every one of Jesus’ disciples died for this belief in His resurrection - why would men do that who knew it to be a lie? Another thing was that Jesus first appeared to women. At this period of history women’s testimony meant nothing, so if you were going to have a believable story of a risen Lord you wouldn’t use the word of women.

Honestly I have like 15 pages of notes of stuff; I have so much left to process. I love what we went over and I think it has given me a greater boldness for defending my faith.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Week 2 with Mike Aleckson

I apologize in advance for the terrible intro but I’ll be honest, I have no idea how to do this nonsense with a “blog.” So that’s going to be my intro… moving on.

This week we had Mike Aleckson come speak to us. He was a business man who felt called by the Lord to go into full time ministry and now works at Compassion International. He also spent some time working at KIVU, which is pretty cool because I went there back in the day.

Anyways, he has spent the week with us going over a historical timeline of the Bible. It’s crazy because he used to teach as a college course over this material and he was attempting to take a whole semesters worth of material and package it into three days. It’s a bit like drinking from a fire hydrant but it has been awesome! I love history already and for the first time in years I get to listen to the history of the Bible from someone who actually believes in the inerrancy of God’s word.

This whole week I have learned a lot but here are 5 things that really stood out to me this week,

1)      We discussed the Messianic Expectation starting in Isaiah, Daniel, and all the way through the Jews time of exile. I think that sometimes it’s hard for me to understand how the Jews of Jesus time couldn’t see that he was their Messiah. I can only imagine that for hundreds of years being told that I would one day have a savior who was going to be like King David then seeing some peaceful man would be hard to change that mentality. I think this knowledge will help me to speak one of my good friend who is Jewish and be able to better articulate why Jesus was the Messiah and understand why he doesn’t believe that.

2)      We spent some time talking about Matthew 5:48 which says “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I’ll be honest this was a verse again that was hard for me because I know that I can never be perfect, I mean impossible right? We learned the original Greek word in this verse for “perfect” is “teleion” which means to strive and work towards your goal that you were created for, to become more like God. Not that I feel like this means I don’t have to strive to be “perfect” but I need to strive to become more like the Lord and because of that I will be closer to His unattainable perfection.

3)      Another really awesome thing was that we talked about how our “psyche” is our dealing with our soul, which includes both our logic and emotions; these 2 things are therefore deeply connected. The reason I think it’s cool, is because in our JBU health course we had just read an article about basically the same thing. I know that I need to take better care of my body and spirit and I can do that by working in the other area. That last statement may not have made a ton of sense but basically the more rested I am the better decisions I will make, the better I can focus on spending time with the Lord reading his Word and praying. Inversely I know that when my life is right with God my physical abilities have always exploded and have been the times I’ve bee most successful in my career.

4)      Also this is something I knew beforehand but it was just a reaffirmation of my thoughts. In the Abrahamic covenant God tells Abram about he will make a great nation from his seed and they will be his people and be blessed etc. Also the Lord says that He will bless those who bless his people and curse those who curse them. I think that America is on a knifes edge, we have always been Israel’s greatest advocate and I believe that our nation has been blessed because of this. Those in leadership of our nation do not respect Israel and would see America no longer support Gods people. It’s scary to think about losing the Lords blessing on our nation and I will continue to try and get people, especially Christians to understand why we need someone to lead our nation who will support Israel.  

5)      One of the last things that we spoke about was heaven and how when the Lord returns and creates a new heaven and earth, will he destroy everything or will he keep those things which are honoring and good to Him? Because if so wouldn’t we want to live our lives in a way that what we pour ourselves into won’t be turned ash at the Lords coming. I know that I don’t and wherever I end up working or doing with my life, I will do all I can to honor the Lord with it, so that he can use it in His new kingdom.

Sorry if my points all seem boring and long winded, I love all the old stuff, meaning of words and the way history progresses and then looking at how I fit into it. I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to have the chance to come to Link Year and be blessed by others teaching. I look forward to seeing how the Lord shapes and fits me into His eternal plan.